There’s no denying that banking has been made better with the advent of technology.

Rather than going into a bank branch to make payments, we can now sit on our couch and do that. Unfortunately this thirst for digital innovation meant that many bank branches were closed as they became ghost towns.

Earlier this year Moneyweb reported that South Africa’s big four banks (FNB, Standard Bank, Absa and Nedbank) had shuttered some 695 branches in the last decade.

But today FNB has announced that it will be adding seven new branches to the 619 it currently has.

“We offer customers a wider choice of interfaces to access our services because we understand that their needs vary. The branch network is very important in our comprehensive range of interfaces which includes App, Online, Cellphone Banking, Contact Centre and Banker Services suite. Similarly, we have been growing our workforce while making sure that existing employees are equipped to service customers by using technology,” chief executive of FNB Points of Presence, Lee-Anne van Zyl said in a statement.

FNB says it will open the seven new branches in Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Gauteng and the Western Cape before the end of 2019.

“In our platform journey, physical infrastructure such as branches and ATMs continue to serve a very important purpose. We are now leveraging the benefits of our digital journey by placing the relevant technology in the hands of our employees across branches, contact centres and private banking suites to fulfil and service our customers financial services requirements,” adds van Zyl.

FNB says that it serves 1.6 million customers per month at its branches.

It’s worth remembering that it’s not just employees that customers can talk to. FNB branches have digital zones where customers can access self-service terminals while being assisted by staff.

FNB has also said it will be revamping 29 branches in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Free State.

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.